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Fact finding team: 
‘Incident fallout of Vajpayee statement’
By Masood Hasan, Lucknow

A four-member fact-finding team has alleged that the incident in Chilauli village in Rae Bareli district on 6 December was the fall-out of the statement issued by the Prime Minister, Mr. AB Vajpayee, utterances made by the Union Minister of State for Sports, Ms. Uma Bharti and other BJP leaders on the Ayodhya issue.

The four-member fact-finding team which was constituted by the Samajwadi Party President, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, to probe into the incident, said in its report that the minarets that were damaged, were constructed with the help provided by the village pradhan (headman), a Brahmin. The pradhan had donated money for the construction of the minarets of the madrasa. He had promised Muslims in the village that if they voted in his favour and he won the local bodies elections, he would donate money to construct the minarets. The pradhan fulfilled his promises by providing help in the construction of the minarets, the fact-finding team, which consisted of the leader of the opposition in the State Assembly, Mr. Dhani Ram Verma, the leader of the opposition in the State Legislative Council, Mr. Ahmad Hasan; the state party chief Mr. Ram Saran Das and the party general secretary, Mr. Sheopal Singh Yadav, has mentioned in its report.

One of the members of the fact-finding team, Mr. Hasan, told The Milli Gazette that though the minarets were damaged, there was no damage to the temple situated nearby. He said that a strong mob of 150 people had entered the madrasa and damaged the minarets. Mr. Hasan suspected the role of the local Congress legislator, Dr. Muhammad Muslim, who was a former Bahujan Samaj Party leader, in the vandalism. Mr. Hasan alleged that the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders were behind the incident. The village is dominated by Brahmins. According to him, there was tension in Chilauli and neighbouring villages for some days after the incident. He felt that the incident must have been fallout of the statements made by the Prime Minister and Ms. Bharti which have vitiated the atmosphere and emboldened the communal forces.

Mr. Hasan was of the view that these statements were made by the Prime Minister and Ms. Bharati deliberately after they had found that the mass base of the BJP was shrinking in the country, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, as shown in the results of the Lok Sabha, panchayat and civic elections held in the last one year or so.

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